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I live in central Tucson, where we are surrounded with gun dealing, dope dealing, human dealing, and we are not sure what else. Here everyone knows that these illegal businesses are perhaps the strongest part of our economy. Tucson works on that trickle down theory…if we let lots of crime money circulate in the city, somebody will buy something from the legal merchants. We are well aware that cops do not make extra money enforcing laws, but rather by strategically ignoring them.
People in other parts of the country might be shocked by what is called the neighborhood watch program in this city.. Our neighbors have had three visits from the neighborhood watch cop. We had a functional handful of neighbors who regularly e mailed and gave information to each other about crime, safety, and suspicious activity. We met with her to find out how to enhance our skills and coordinate with the TPD. She came but told us we did not meet the requirements she had to follow, so she could not work with us. We went ahead the same way, just using our e mail list to contact each other.
The second meeting set up to form an official watch was a few days before a sales tax election that was of great importance to the officer. Although we had far fewer attendees at the second meeting, she decided that this time we could make it official. So she stayed for an hour and promoted the sales tax and told us we already had no hope of law enforcement, but if the sales tax did not pass she might loose her job. I remember thinking, she really should loose her job since she is out here not doing it at all right now. After the official status was granted I contacted her to help eliminate the extreme flaming crime that we had to tolerate full time in the form of a charity scam operating in our public areas. She refused to help or respond. She told me to call the parking authority to try to remove the log jam of cars that blocked us into our houses while they made donations to the criminals. The parking authority did arrive six months later and ticket a neighbor who had been illegally parked for a decade, but all the neighborhhod had to live with full time fully public crime by three of the thirty houses in our condo village. Since they were in the scam business for years, our property value has been reduced to almost nothing. Nobody would come to look at a property where the residents were fully parked in to their homes with crime traffic.
The third meeting with the officer was even more poorly attended, with only three other homes represented, other than the full time criminals. So, with the threashhold of a minimum of 16 participants, she went ahead with a brief meeting to sanction the tiny, close knit, and full time criminal group who sat before her as our official neighborhood watch. The other homeowners would just be able to watch while their quality of life is trashed by this group. I raised the issue that there were not close to a majority there, which was met with hostility by both the charity scammers and the cop. What they have in common that aligns them is a desire to be hostile rather than aware. I watched a functioning group of neighbors turn into a crime enhancing group of punks under the guidance of the TPD. No exchange of information has been done since she sanctioned the criminal group. They refuse to respond, just like the TPD. I want to recognize the important work being done by this branch of law enforcement, and I want to stop paying for it. It seems to damage society when cops pretend that crime is not their problem. We don’t need to pay tax dollars to extend willful blindness to crime. We already have that.
Holy crap! I wouldn’t want to pay taxes to support the cops there, either! Sounds like a really bad situation. I’d really like to read-follow ups on this. Blogging about it is the first step toward bringing the situation to larger public awareness. Have you sent this to your local newspapers? Other local bloggers? Maybe the TPD can be shamed into appropriate action if enough people outside Tucson start chiming in their disgust. I would certainly be willing to add my voice to that effort! Good luck, & please do keep us posted on how this continues to unfold.
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